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The Australian sun is fierce. Whether it’s January or July, you’re at risk if you’re outdoors. Protect yourself from the elements with our handy hints!
The importance of sun protection in Australia is often publicised, but many of us still ignore the dangers. We have one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world – and most of this damage is preventable with a few simple precautions. Aside from long-term cancer risks and a tendency to make our skin look older, too much sun can also lead to more immediate problems like sunburn and fluid loss. Here in Australia, the sun can do some serious damage, no matter what part of the country you live in, or the time of year you’re out and about.
Because your body uses triple the amount of water in the sun as it does in shade, keeping hydrated is a vital part of dealing with the sunshine. There are plenty of ways to go here – make sure you always carry water bottles, or a hydration pack with a water bladder big enough for the length of time you plan to be outdoors. The choice is entirely up to you, as long as it keeps you hydrated. 3-litre water bladders are a great idea as they give you the option of carry less, or more, water as required, and are a convenient way to quench your thirst while leaving your hands free for more important things.
When you’re hiking in open areas and there’s not much shade around, the perfect solution is a lightweight shelter that can be put up quickly, but doesn’t take up a lot of room in your pack. You can choose between a lightweight covered hammock, or a one-piece tarp shelter than can serve quadruple duty as sun shade, rain protection, wind break and super-compact overnight shelter for minimalist camping trips. They’re ideal for those midday lunch breaks on a bright, sunny day.
Keep the sun at bay with a broad-brimmed hat that thoroughly shades your face and keeps the sunshine off your neck as well. Akubras are a great choice for sun protection: they feature serious sun-busting brims and come in a huge range of styles. Barmah also makes practical, wide-brimmed hats in styles that are crush-proof to pack away and will keep your head happy when the sun is taking no prisoners.
Skin Protection -
Apply sunscreen to your exposed skin at least 20 minutes before heading out into the sun. Zinc cream is practical for your nose, lips and the often-overlooked backs of your hands. Thongs, shorts and a flimsy, short-sleeved tee shirt don’t really cut it when the sun is beating down - the most protective sun-smart outfit consists of a hat, covered shoes, long, loose-fitting trousers and a long-sleeved shirt. Another good idea is to carry a Smartwool microweight base thermal (crews, zip-tops and bottoms). Not only will they provide you with maximum sun protection, but believe it or not, they are cool in summer thanks to their moisture wicking properties. Plus they have the added benefit of being naturally antimicrobial, so they won’t smell when you sweat in them, and can be easily rinsed out and dried each night ready for the day ahead.
The sun isn’t always your enemy; use a solar charger to keep your cameras and other electronic gadgets running smoothly. Wherever you choose to enjoy your sun-soaked outdoor adventures, don’t forget that Wild Earth is the number one destination for adventure gear, with products to help you enjoy the great outdoors all year-round!